February 20, 2010

Motor City tackling machine

Lawrence Thomas of Detroit Renaissance High School is one of the top prospects in the entire nation for the class of 2011 and a player that Head Coach Mark Dantonio and the Michigan State staff are making a top priority. SpartanMag.com caught up with the dominant defender and got some details on his recruitment.

Thomas is seeing his stock continues to rise. His offer list is as long as any player in the nation and includes scholarships from every pretty much every major school in every BCS conference. Spartanmag.com named him the #1 prospect in our rankings and in our opinion he should follow William Gholston and be the next 5-star prospect from the state of Michigan.

With BCS scholarship offers from coast to coast, SpartanMag.co, asked Thomas what it feels like to have the opportunity to play football pretty much anywhere he wants in the nation?

"It feels great to get all the national attention," Thomas said. "I am representing my family, my school and my city. It makes me feel proud that people from everywhere want a player from Detroit."

Detroit football has definitely been on a roll the last few years. The city has produced a lot of national level prospects such as Gholston, William Campbell, Dior Mathis and Thomas' former teammate at Detroit Renaissance Chris Norman. It is possible that Thomas when the dust settles Thomas will be the most highly ranked of them all.

Michigan State has been recruiting Thomas for several years now. Coach Dantonio and his staff offered Thomas verbally a long time ago and then sent him his written offer the first day they were allowed by NCAA regulations. Spartanmag.com asked Thomas about his feelings about the Green and White.

"I have a good comfort level at Michigan State, he said. "I know a lot of the players and all of the coaches. I always feel welcome when I go there. I was researching schools and there was a time when Michigan State was very dominant on the national scene. I think they might be heading that direction again."

Becoming a championship program on the national level requires a dominant defense. That is something Mark Dantonio had when he was the Defensive Coordinator at Ohio State and won the national championship there. He is hoping to do the same at Michigan State and a player like Thomas would be a key piece of the puzzle.

The 2010 Spartan class was strong defensively, with players like Gholston, Max Bullough, Isaiah Lewis, Marcus Rush and Mylan Hicks. The hope is to add Thomas and some other high-level Midwestern prospects to that group.

Despite all of the national attention, Thomas is not one of those players that lets all the accolades go to his head. He has stayed very well-grounded throughout the process and has held strong to the principles that will help him decided where he will go to school.

"The things that will help me make my decision will be the academics, the comfort level, the defensive scheme and the relationships I have with the coaches and players. Thomas said.

As with any high-level prospect, Thomas is the type player that could help attract other players to join him no matter where he attends. Top players like to play with other top players. Last year players like Skyler Schofner, Joe Boisture and Mylan Hicks cited the fact that William Gholston was headed to Michigan State as a positive impact on their recruitment. SpartanMag.co asked Thomas if he speaks with any of the state's other top recruits

"Yes, I chat with some guys like DeAnthony Arnett and Justice Hayes," he said. "They are great players. I am sure I will talk with lots of guys when I decide where I want to go. I want to help my team bring in the best players possible"

Michigan State will once again have the opportunity to host Thomas on campus this weekend. No doubt Head Coach Mark Dantonio and Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi will be especially excited to see the All-American linebacker on campus again.

Matt Dorsey Take:

Thomas is a huge recruit for the Spartans. With guys like Saban and Kiffin in the mix, Thomas recruitment is sure to be hotly contested even after he makes his choice. With that being said, Thomas is not the type of recruit who will flip or waver once a decision is made. Whoever gets a commitment from Thomas is going to get a great player who is going to be a strong advocate for their program.

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